To confirm whether you are fertile, your doctor may advise you to take an HSG or hysterosalpingogram test. During this essential fertility test, your radiologist transfers an iodine dye through the cervix into the fallopian tubes and uterus, and then takes x-ray pictures. Your doctor uses these x-ray images to evaluate the shape of your uterus. While this is a common fertility test, many women feel concerned about the pain. Does it really help?
Will You Experience Hysterosalpingogram Pain?
Well, it actually depends on many factors and varies from woman to woman. Where some women report moderate cramping, other women do not feel anything during the procedure. Many women say that the fear of pain is actually much worse than the discomfort you actually feel.
There are many reasons why some women are more likely to experience hysterosalpingogram pain. For instance, you may experience pain if one or both of your fallopian tubes have any type of blockage. The dye needs to go through the uterus and fallopian tubes and then out into the abdominal cavity during the procedure. Any blockage would make this difficult and cause pain.
In Case You Do Experience Pain
If you experience any pain during the procedure, be sure to inform your doctor immediately. In case of any pain, they can remove the catheter, which will release the pressure and alleviate pain as well. It is worth mentioning that severe pain does not last for long, but mild cramping may persist for a few hours after the procedure. You may have to take OTC pain relievers to feel better. Ibuprofen works fine in most cases – your doctor may ask you to take it an hour before the procedure to limit the discomfort.
Along with taking pain medications to control hysterosalpingogram pain, you should also practice deep breathing throughout the procedure to relax your nerves. It will be a bit challenging considering the fact that you will be lying on your back with the speculum inside and your radiologist asking you to roll over to your side for an x-ray. Do not shy away from telling your doctor that you are feeling very nervous – they may say a few words and that reassurance is usually all you need to feel better.
What Else You May Experience After the Test?
It is possible to experience some cramping after the test. The cramps may be quite similar to period-like cramps. There may also be some spotting and vaginal discharge. It is better to use a pad during this time instead of a tampon to lower your risks of infections.
It is not uncommon for some women to experience nausea and dizziness after the test. However, these side effects do not last for long and go away eventually. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection, such as severe pain, fever, fainting, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, vomiting, and heavy vaginal bleeding.
After the completion of the procedure, your radiologist will give you the x-ray images that you need to share with your doctor. They will check the images carefully and then determine if you need any follow-up examinations or further tests.
When Is the Test Required?
Your doctor will recommend taking the test if you have trouble getting pregnant. They may also order the test if you have had pregnancy problems in the past, such as multiple miscarriages. The HSG helps diagnose the cause of infertility, which could be one of the following:
- Blockage of the fallopian tubes
- Genetic or acquired abnormalities in the uterus
- Uterine polyps or tumor
- Uterine fibroids
- Scar tissue in the uterus
Your doctor may ask you to take an HSG test if you have undergone tubal surgery. The test helps confirm that the surgery was successful. They may order the same test in case you have had a tubal ligation, which involves closing the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. The test helps confirm that the tubes have been closed properly.
What Moms Got to Say about Hysterosalpingogram Pain?
"I experienced pain during my HSG test. The pain was severe on my right side, and then I found that it was blocked. I had a laparoscopy a day before and they found a cyst on the same side. It was quite big in the images. I did experience some pain, but I must say that it was nothing compared to childbirth."
"I went for an HSG on Tuesday. I experience some discomfort with mild cramping, but nothing more than that. I had to be on the wedge to help them get the angle right. I also took antibiotics 2 days before the test, on the day of the test, and two days after. My doctor gave me 800mg of ibuprofen before the test."
"I had my HSG today and my doctor told me to take 3-4 ibuprofen an hour before the test. I was very concerned and nervous, especially considering the fact that they would insert the speculum, but it was not that bad. I was told that the catheter might cause a period-like cramp, and it did. It was quite smooth after that with no pain at all. It was still a bit uncomfortable though."